NBA Free Agency Report: Anonymous Exec Thinks LeBron To Bulls A “Done Deal” (UPDATED)

To borrow from Frowns, it’s Stupid Time. So, we get to hear a report every day or so about LeBron and things happening (even when nobody really knows what’s happening, except for LeBron). Today’s story du-jour comes from The New York Times (the Times!). While the Times were careful with their wording, ESPN Chicago has run with it and used much more absolute language.

Since I’m a bigger fan of quoting the less sensational, here’s what The Times had to say:

[T]he meetings might not be much more than a formality. The executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A.executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.

“I think it’s a done deal,” the executive said.

He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio “to be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops,” a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.

So, LeBron’s still going to listen to teams’ sales pitches. He could even change his mind, if it’s made up. But one exec (who spoke anonymously to avoid tampering, as any wallet-wise exec would do) THINKS it’s a “done deal”. Take that for what it’s worth. Don’t be like some of the kids I grew up with who are burning the LeBron jerseys as we speak and cursing his name, because of an internet report. I think we’ve all learned that initial reports can be wrong at this point.

As of right now, we don’t know what the salary cap will be. Everyone is basing the 2010/2011 cap based off of conjecture. So to say that the Bulls or Team X have enough salary cap space to sign two max contracts is not really accurate. As the current cap projection stands, the Bulls will be about $2 million dollars short of signing both Bosh and James to max deals (according to Andrew in our internal emails – thx buddy). The salary cap won’t be announced until July 8th, the first day that teams can publicly comment on contract negotiations with free agents.

Only like 10 days until LeBron can officially talk about things. I hope you guys have hobbies, or at least something to strap yourselves to – it’ll be a bumpy few weeks.

UPDATE: According to Art Garcia of Chris Bosh’s agent has stated that Bosh has not made any sort of decision at this point. Additionally, ESPN’s Chris Broussard said on air that these reports are conjecture.

UPDATE II (Scott): According to Stephen A. Smith (and sources), both LeBron James and Chris Bosh will be joining Dwyane Wade in Miami this season.  So, that solves that…

  • And naturally, the Knicks are now looking at Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson…allegedly.

  • That means the Knicks are the winners :/

  • mgbode

    this has as much validity as anything. my complete conjecture:

    Bulls: JoeJ and Boozer (Rose/JoeJ/Deng/Boozer/Noah starting5), slightly under max for both.

    Heat: Wade, Amare, Gay (Chalmers/Wade/Gay/Amare/Haslen starting5), Gay is the one that doesn’t get the max.

    Cavs: LeBron and Bosh…hey, it’s my list. Bosh sign-n-trade where we have to take Calderon back and giveup Twan, Delonte, Gibson, JJ

    Knicks: well, whose the best left? David Lee. Ok, Carmelo is a UFA next year guys.

  • Gren (not Glen)

    I’ve ignored all the Lebron talk and just brushed it off but, this worries me.

    I love rooting for the underdog and seeing how teams build theirselves but, I don’t think I could be interested in the moves if the Cavs lost Bron. There’s just no hope otherwise, we don’t have anyone young besides J.J. Hickson who could potentially start now and grow in the future. I would throw Andy in there but, I feel that he’s at his ceiling (although I hope not).

    Add that along with whatever is going on with Mo and Delonte. Antawn’s age and hefty salary. Not to mention we just went through the draft without getting a Center of any potential.

    Too many questions, no answers.

  • Rich

    I know Gren, just give up on the team now!!That’s what real fans do.

  • GP

    I have a question for the more knowledgeable out there….The Bulls are $2 million away from having enough space for 2 max contracts, is it possible for the Bulls to just go ahead and sign 2 max contracts and pay some sort of penalty?

  • BrianRut4

    It makes sense if winning is the deciding factor. Rose(21), Noah(25), James(25), Bosh(26) could easily go on a run and win 5 championships which would put the Bulls franchise historically in the same conversation as the Lakers and Celtics. The NBA would then have its 3 cornerstone franchises on the west coast, midwest, and east coast respectively.

  • Rich

    No, GP. Not possible. I’m sure they’ll find a taker for James Johnsons measly contract in the meantime though.

    Here is hoping that Dwayne Wade really is better, and beats LeBron’s Bulls for the next 5 years in the playoffs.

  • Tim

    And if it works, it would set the standard for success in the NBA- be mediocre for a number of years, get really lucky and win the lottery when you weren’t that bad of a team, and then free up enough salary cap space (read: accept mediocrity for a few seasons) to sign a couple of really good free agents when a good free agent class comes around. If they do go to the Bulls, I hope the chemistry is terrible or they never win anything for some other reason.

  • Rich

    The NBA is going to have a lot of problems because of this. Teams will betanking all over the place just to be part of the next free agent class. Actually trying to win and giving back to your supporters seems to be a thing of the past now. LOSE LOSE LOSE, and then win.

  • Rich

    Just to show the insanity of all of this, here is another media person’s twitter reporting.

    So, in the same day Bosh is going to Miami AND Chicago? He’s ognna be like the BK King from those football commercials. Playing for multiple teams at once.

  • If LBJ decides to go elsewhere. Sign me up as the first person who wishes Braylon Edwards shows up and punches him outside of a club.

  • I regret saying that…

    I will re-post it July 8th, if I have to.

  • S-Dub

    I just don’t understand why it’s so inconceivable that the Cavs can’t one of these guys if all these others teams could.

    Luol Deng isn’t that good and his contract is worse than Mo Williams and Tawn’s. So why would Toronto want him for Bosh and not give up Calderon or get a good young big back? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    At least we could give them JJ to play inside with Barngani, Take Calderon off their hands for a more capable G in Mo, and they can just cut Delonte or flip him and TurkeyGlue for another player with an relatively unfriendly contract but that might help them more. I dunno, just makes more sense to me instead of Deng (avg. player but mostly injured) and a bunch of junk. I mean honestly, they have nothing outside of Deng to give up.

  • Alex

    Rose/LeDiva/Bosh/Noah/anyone else… is going to be almost unstoppable. It’s sad to say, but the cavs really are the low man when it comes to resigning LeDiva

  • Rich

    I agree S-Dub, and before their move to throw away Hinrich’s contract (WTW WERE THE WIZARDS THINKING??!?!?!) I thought the same. However, now that they only need to move James Johnsons minor contract, if he really wants to go the bulls, he can go w/ or w/o a sign and trade.

  • S-Dub

    All they need to do is move that contract but who in the league is going to take it to help Chicago get 2 max free agents? Much how like people don’t want to help us makes big moves to re-sign LBJ, I don’t see anyone wanting to help them either. If no one helps them, then Bosh would still need to S&T to get a max deal. At that point LBJ could re-sign w/ us, and Toronto could get the better players from us and Bosh gets his bread. Just saying.

  • jimkanicki

    @alex15: i think noah out-varajao’s AV in the bulls series because of AV’s back injury… i really think that’s why he looked so good. i was impressed with noah, but won’t buy in to that particular performance. (however, i DID buy into noah’s being pissed off at the cavs’ dancing and having the balls to say so to lebron’s face. i bet lebron was impressed too and would appreciate a teammate like noah.)

    so yeah.. the lineup you list above is a champion calibre team.. because it contains a gritty guy who’s willing to stir it up for his team. every team needs one. did the cavs have one? one guy who would lay it out there for the team? [thinking… maybe AV… couldve been powe if he’d seen the floor… but in the end, no.]

    if bron stays in cleveland he’s signing on to another rebuilding project. the mitigating factor is that the rebuilding is due to the short-term view he forced on ferry. but in the here and now… we have the least upside of any of the other contenders (except maybe the knicks).

    so if he signs with us… it’s gotta be lifetime contract and he needs to accept that he’s the foundation. not the other way around where he’s augmenting some other team’s foundation. and that would be an enormous commitment to cleveland.

    seems like a longshot to the rest of the world. but the lebron i’ve been appreciating these many years might be up for that challenge and also has a sense of loyalty to the owner who’s done right by him and his hometown. it could happen.

    tell ya what, if he stays with us… he trumps jim brown and bob feller for greatest cleveland hero.

    (on the other hand, i hope no one says the words ‘ken griffey junior’ to him in the next two weeks.)

  • Rich

    It isn’t like it’s a rebuilding project that will take 5 years. I mean, they are right there, and one move here and there they are in the title game.

    S-Dub, you would think so, except it would seem the Wizards made that move to simply help the BUlls out. I mean, how else can you explain deciding to pay Kirk hinrich 9 million a year from now until forever for THE EIGHTEENTH pick? I mean..thats it? Take this bad contract for the 18th??What? not to mention, he’s a pg, AND THEY HAVE GILBERT ARENAS AND JOHN WALL. I just….it makes no sense to me and no1 is talking about it. There seems to be literally no sensible reason for the Wizards making that deal. The 18th pick isn’t even close to worth Hinrich’s terrible contract.

  • Stinkfist

    Oooo, lookey! I see a big rock! I’m going to go crawl under it now

  • SxDx

    Joakim Noah is a pretty good player, but I dont understand why people talk about him like hes the second coming of Karl Malone. Yeah he plays like a beast against Cleveland, but hes an average power forward against everyone else. For his career Noah is averaging 8 points and 8 rebounds.

    Derrick Rose is the one big attraction that Chicago has, the rest of those guys, Deng, Noah, Gibson etc…. are nothing special. If they were Chicago would win more than 40 games and get out of the first round.

    And while I can certainly understand why playing with Rose would be enticing, Im not sure how well he and Lebron would play together. Rose is a shooting point gaurd, he averages 17 shot attempts and 6 assists per game. Like Lebron he needs the ball in his hands to be effective, he needs the offense to revolve around him. On paper that certainly looks like a winning combination, but on paper doesnt always translate well on the court.

    LeBron already plays for a 60 win team, if he wants to play with Bosh, why not bring Bosh to Cleveland? Gilbert can make some trades and dump a few contracts. If given the choice between playing the luxury tax to bring in Bosh, or watching the value of his franchise plummet when Lebron leaves town, 10,000 empty seats per night etc…. I think Dan would rather pay the luxury tax. Im no expert on the salary cap or the luxury tax, but I believe the luxury tax penalty is 1 dollar for every dollar that youre over the cap. Correct me if Im wrong of course. Would Gilbert rather see professional basketball die in Cleveland? OR, would he rather pay 15-20 million in luxury tax penalties to keep Lebron, sign Chris Bosh and have a team that be a perennial title contender for the next 6-8 years.

    Call me crazy or optimistic, but I still dont think Gilbert is going to let him leave. Theres too much at stake.

  • Shamrock

    Noah will be 2x the player Varejao is on day 1 if LeBron is his teammate. If LBJ does go to Chicago I guarantee you’ll see him off the ball and yes even down low and especially against Cleveland who will have a defense in the middle as weak as they come,

    And name me the last athlete to sign a life contract with a team? Those went out with the dinosaurs.

  • ben


  • mike

    noah is going to be two times the player varejao is with lebron? wow! so noah is going to average 20 points and 22 rebounds per game with lebron? thats insane!!

    actually, Noah and AV is an interesting comparison. on the one hand, noah put up better stats last year than AV. on the other hand, Noah was a starter (AV off the bench) and was asked to do different things. Noah was chicago’s primary rebounder. obviously brad miller/warrick and deng would get a few but Noah’s role on the team was to be the #1 rebounder with less emphasis on straight up defense. to the contrary, AV lost out on rebounds to Shaq and lebron for starters, as well as Z and hickson. AV was also asked to concentrate more on straight up defense rather than being the team’s primary rebounder. the media does this all the time, but adding someone like lebron to a team actually detracts from everyone’s stats. its unlikely that Rose maintains 20 points / 6 assists per game. Deng certainly wouldnt maintain his 17 point average. its unlikely that Noah maintains his 10.7 points and 11 rebounds per game average. it actually could very well be that Noah drops down to 9 points, 8 rebounds per game – or AV numbers.

  • mgbode

    AV vs. Noah

    Noah has more offensive moves and is a better ‘put-back’ specialist.

    They are equally tenacious rebounders and on loose balls.

    AV is better 1on1 defender.

    They have equally atrocious jump-shots (though AV has been improving)

    AV is more of a true center, but isn’t stout enough to handle all of them on either end (neither is Noah) – the Dwight’s, Bynum’s, and even Perkins of the NBA.

    AV has better hair (had to add that…Noah has WNBA hair)

  • mike

    yeah – i cant really argue with mgbode. i mean, according to ESPN, Noah is this HUGE draw for lebron. in reality, i dont see a huge difference between him and AV. is noah better? maybe – depending on what exactly your team needs are. is the difference between them the difference between Dwight Howard and Luc Longley? hardly. they are essentially both energy guys. one is a little bit more polished offensively, and the other a bit more polished defensively.
    my other question for lebron is, so if he goes to Chicago what happens once the cap space is used up? how will chicago get a bench? i think lebron is smart enough to know you cant win a championship without a bench. what happens in a few years when noah wants AV-money, or more? what happens when Rose wants his max? what if the NBA drops the soft cap in place of a hard cap? then it might be impossible to keep noah and/or rose long term. what if the MLE is gone making it even tougher for chicago to get a mid-level type of player to come off the bench? what if Chicago ownership holds true to form and stays cheap, like it has been the past 25+ years? there are still so many “what if’s” involved with chicago. at least in cleveland, he knows ownership will put its money where its mouth is and spend the money.
    another question is – what was the last team to win it all with a “young” nucleus of non-battle tested players? look at all the past champions – they are ALL veteran teams with a group of veteran guys that have been together for at least a few years and grew together. pistons, heat, spurs, lakers. celtics could be an exception, but they were still a VERY veteran team that was battle tested. nobody on the bulls is battle tested. they are all young guys still coming together. and no, you are not playoff battle tested until you get deep, like conference finals where there is real pressure. realistically, i dont see lebron going to the bulls being a championship team for at least a few more years. he has all the elements right now in cleveland, and they are just getting better.

  • Josh

    this is making me sad…i really thought he was going to stay, but how can you argue with LBJ/Bosh/Rose/Noah and Deng?

    As much as i would hate it, I don’t know if I could even be mad at him for it.

  • mgbode

    @27 – that Bulls roster including their bench is not a wheel of cheese

  • ben


  • mgbode

    Thanks, I miss the MSU journalistic police

  • GP

    I don’t understand why he would go to Chicago. Only in NYC and Cleveland would Lebron be ‘The Man’.And even in NYC that would be difficult. If he went to Miami, he is entering Wades’ House, if he goes to Chicago he’s going to rose and Noahs house..check that MJs house. Lebron is all about Lebron being a megastar. Last time I checked megastars don’t go runnin around the schoolyard looking to see if they can join in on other kids games.